Austin Davis

Candidate for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor Austin Davis speaks in Philadelphia on Friday. —Tribune Photo By Abdul R. Sulayman, Tribune Chief Photographer

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro and candidate for the governor’s office, brought his choice for lieutenant governor to City Hall, where they were flanked by a group of the city’s political heavyweights, needed to deliver Philadelphia votes for a victory on Nov. 8.

Shapiro introduced first-term State Rep. Austin Davis, 32, a lifelong resident of McKeesport, Pa., at a news conference in the mayor’s reception room Friday. The pair were joined by City Council President Darrell Clarke, fellow councilpersons Derrick Green, Cherrelle Parker, Isiah Thomas; State Rep. Donna Bullock; State Sen. Vincent Hughes; former U.S. Rep. and Philadelphia Democratic Party Chairman Robert A. Brady; and some of Davis’ western Pennsylvania colleagues.

“I look to people who have different backgrounds than my own,” Shapiro said. “I want a government that is reflective of the people I am sworn to serve, and that is why I am endorsing Austin Davis as the next lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.”

Shapiro said he wants a lieutenant governor to challenge him and someone that brings different life experiences to the table. Some of the key issues in this campaign are the right to vote, women’s reproductive rights, union rights to organize and continuing gun violence, Shapiro said.

Originally, the Shapiro campaign had planned for the news conference to be outside in front of the Octavius V. Catto statue on the south side of City Hall, but the event was forced inside because of bad weather. A Philadelphia activist, organizing to get newly enfranchised Black voters to the polls, Catto was assassinated, at 32, in 1871 — for his activism.

“His name, his legacy is something that we should all remember,” Shapiro said of Catto. “He gave his life for the right to vote. Now we have to carry on the responsibility to protect the right to vote.”

A son of a cosmetologist and a union bus driver, Davis has a background tailor made for public service. As a teenager, Davis worked on the McKeesport mayor’s Youth Advisory Council. In 2012, Davis worked for Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, with portfolios that included women and minority issues, prison oversight and small business.

Davis was the first Black person elected in his majority white district and is chair of the Allegheny County Delegation. Davis also serves on the House appropriation committee and is a member of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus. In the legislature, Davis has championed issues such as economic equality, fair education funding, preventing gun violence and climate change. If elected, Davis would be the first Black lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania.

“In McKeesport, he saw the struggles of working families. It’s a town that fell on hard times. It’s a town that recovered through grit and through determination,” Shapiro said of Davis. “There are towns like McKeesport through Pennsylvania, where people feel ignored and forgotten.”

For his part, Davis said, “As a leader in the state house legislative caucus, I’ve worked to make Pennsylvania a fairer place. I’m proud of the work that we’ve done. Pennsylvanians want elected leaders who care about families like theirs.”

But Davis said there is so much more work to do, so that is why he is running for lieutenant governor.

Shapiro said the stakes are high in this race.

“We all agree that we need the strongest possible ticket, the strongest possible team to tackle these challenges,” Shapiro said. “I am here to state very clearly that Austin Davis is the best possible choice for lieutenant governor in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

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